Sunday, February 10, 2013
German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht was born on February 10, 1898, in Augsburg, Bavaria. A lifelong Marxist, his "epic theatre" explored drama as a forum for political ideas. He focused on destroying what he considered theatrical illusions, rejecting "Aristotelian" drama that forces identification with the hero. He believed that emotional catharsis (terror and pity) prevented an audience from thinking. Brecht’s musical adaptation of The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper, 1928) with composer Kurt Weill is a fierce Socialist critique of the capitalist world, famous for the song “Mack the Knife.” He wrote Mother Courage and Her Children (1939) to counter the rise of Fascism and Nazism following the invasion of Poland. The Life of Galileo (1945) deals with the protagonist's self-hatred for renouncing his convictions. Brecht is thought to have had no fewer than three mistresses at any given time throughout his adult life.